Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson - Circles Summary & Analysis

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Circles Summary and Analysis

Long before Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity ushered in the age of quantum physics, Emerson seems to hint at the same principles in this essay. He observes that the circle seems to be the central organizing principle of the universe and that permanence is only an illusion created by man to make order where all is "fluid and volatile." Impermanence is the only permanent thing about the universe, as one circle encompasses another as time proceeds. Ever-expanding circles describe the progress of human thought as well as the operation of the physical and natural world, Emerson says.

The direction of nature and human consciousness is endless expansion, or the creation of ever-widening circles. To adapt to this state of constant change, we must be willing to let go of old ideas and patterns of thinking and behavior in favor of...

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This section contains 227 words
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Buy the Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson Study Guide
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